Former City Librarian Shirley Amore dies at 68

Denver Public Library staff are saddened to announce that former Denver City Librarian Shirley Amore passed away unexpectedly on March 1; she was 68.

Shirley was hired as the ninth city librarian in 2006 and was the first female in the position in the library’s 117-year history. She came to us from Sarasota, Florida, where she served as executive director of the city’s Community Services division. Her responsibilities there included administration of four county departments: Parks and Recreation, Sarasota History Center, University of Florida Extension Service and Sarasota Libraries.

She previously held management positions with the Broward County (Florida) Library and Fairfield (Connecticut) Public Library. She received her Master of Library Science Degree from Southern Connecticut State University and her BA in English Literature from Lake Superior State College in Michigan.

Shirley made a big impact on the library and on Denver in her eight years as city librarian:

  • In 2007, with the help of Denver voters and support from City Council, the library renovated 13 branches, performed major upgrades to all branches, and built three new branch libraries, increasing access for Denver residents.
  • Two new bookmobiles were purchased and the library expanded services to 23 Denver Public Schools and 22 senior centers.
  • The library survived the great recession and came out stronger, including increasing hours from 32 to 48 hours per week at all branches and 52 hours per week at five branches.
  • The library strengthened its relationship with the Friends Foundation, helping it grow into a strong organization focused on raising money and support for the library.
  • Shirley led the organization through expanded mission and vision work by studying the community and developing strategies to make a positive difference in the lives of Denver residents.
  • Summer of Reading, Storytimes, early learning programs and out-of-school learning programs were put in place.
  • BizBoost was created to help businesses and organizations with business and organizational development.
  • The Community Technology Center was created, along with the ideaLAB, to give residents free, unparalleled access to technology resources.

Shirley was proud of her community work. In 2014, she was awarded the ADA Access Award by the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition for her advocacy relating to the promotion of universal access to the library. In 2015, she was honored by the Girl Scouts of Colorado as a 2015 Woman of Distinction in Denver and in honor of her retirement, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock proclaimed Jan. 27, 2015 as Shirley Amore Day.

Even after her retirement in 2015, Shirley continued to help the library by working on the Career Online High School program, building community support and partnering with City agencies to identify candidates for the online high school and career preparation program.

Shirley reminded us every day of the great impact we make on people’s lives. Anyone who worked for her will remember her signature slogan, “Together, we make an extraordinary difference.” That feels like an understatement when you look back at all she was able to accomplish in Denver and beyond.

Most importantly, Shirley was a great friend. She valued and cared for colleagues and customers alike and always made everyone she met feel at home and welcome in our buildings. Shirley will be deeply missed.

Shirley is survived by her husband John Amore, children James Halligan, Chris Amore, Aric Amore, Tad Amore and her daughters-in-law, Ginger Pelz, Beth Amore and Rachel Amore; brother Hugh Craig and sister, the late Sheila Craig, as well as six grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to Career Online High School via the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation. In the comments field please include “Career Online High School.”

Written by ChrisH on March 5, 2018


Rachelle Berven on June 8, 2018


Hello. Just found out the passing of Shirley Amore...Though I've never met her, just reading these comments from others , I feel I've known her also..Would like to send my sincere sympathy to her family.